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06 February 2008 @ 12:56 pm
Sewing and altering bras  
There has been a bunch of talk here on altering bras to fit, and some interest expressed in custom sewing and making your own, so I thought I'd post some related links that I hope will be helpful or interesting.

Bra-Maker's Supply has patterns for bras, including the Classic Bra pattern, which comes in cup sizes E to H in band sizes 30-38, as well as more "common" sizings. For a better picture, I believe the first bra image on this page is the same pattern. If you're near Ontario or able to travel, the classes listed on that page might be worth looking into.

Their website has a very interesting section on Making a Bra, which unfortunately doesn't have a direct link because the site uses frames (=evil) but it can be reached by clicking "Information Links/Cart Services" on the main page, which will take you to this page, where you can choose "Making a Bra" from the list. Believe me, this is worth it, because after a (quite reasonable) sizing/measuring guide and a list of patterns available in which sizes, there is a Construction sequence section (very helpful diagrams--I think I could figure out how to alter a full-band pattern to a partial-band pattern from looking at the pictures) and then a handy-dandy Conversion Chart for underwire sizes.
This is probably the most interesting bit: the chart shows band sizes in one direction and cup sizes in the other, and then tells you which size underwire each size takes. There is a certain amount of overlap, which allows us to do the familiar up-a-band-size, down-a-cup-size trick for fitting, but allows you to know exactly which size underwire you need, and (at least if the manufacturers played along, which we all know they don't, but still...) figure out what size you could get that would have at least the right underwire/cup size so that you could successfully alter the band.

Finally, at the bottom of the page, there is a recommendation for The Bra-Maker's Manual by Beverly Johnson, available both as a book or a CD, either from this site or from the author (the author also sells them on eBay). Beverly Johnson also has her own blog, which, while rarely updated, has some great ideas and instructions on making custom bras; her instructions for altering the bands of off-the-rack bras are especially helpful.

A word of encouragement--fixing your own bras to fit is not at all difficult if you have even the most basic sewing skills. The easiest thing to do is whack out a chunk of the band on each side of the back, making the band smaller. This works great on those old things in your closet or from the Goodwill (the cheapness means you won't have to worry about screwing up an expensive bra, so you can feel free to experiment).

I hope that at least some of you find some of this interesting or helpful, and if you have any more sources of information that you want to share, or suggestions for more/better entry tags, that would be great!
Styger: <3styger on February 7th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
Beverly Johnson's blog is a great resource and I definitely second the recommendation.
I think the Bra Maker site also has some good blurbs on underwires. I remember them being a big help when I was trying to figure out how to get around the whole wires for a GG/H, cups for a FF fit issue.
Dakinisdakinis on February 8th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
Uh oh...
Thanks for posting this. It helped out a lot with what I was doing!

I tried to shorten either side of the bands and it just pulled my breasts apart, giving it that wall-eyed look. Like that. Unfortunately my breasts won't stay in even in a full coverage bra so I got another inexpensive bra and shortened the center gore. Well, it worked and the bra fits much better but now the gore is a complete visual mess.
Sue: gosh!gorillapotter on February 9th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Re: Uh oh...
Yeah, I've had that effect too, and taken a gather in the center gore as well to fix it. (My breasts are quite close together.

I'm so glad the post helped, and that you got a wearable bra out your alteration experiments.